What To Expect if You Think You’ve Dislocated Your Shoulder

Dr. Roger Pollock, your shoulder specialist in Paramus, NJ, is here to help you rehabilitate if you've dislocated a shoulder. We can help prevent, diagnose, and treat any shoulder condition. Keep reading about the shoulder joint, and come see us after any shoulder dislocation in Paramus, NJ.

Shoulder dislocation

Your shoulder joint is a ball-in-socket mechanism that allows for the maximum mobility of your arms. Because of all this mobility, it is the most likely joint to become dislocated. Shoulder dislocation occurs when the ball at the top of your arm bone leaves the shoulder socket. A dislocated shoulder is typically caused by a fall or a blow to the shoulder and can be a common sports injury.

What to expect

A dislocated shoulder can be extremely painful and that will, unfortunately, be your first sign of trouble. Other than extreme pain, you may experience:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Muscle spasms
  • Numbness or tingling down the arm
  • Difficulty moving the arm
  • Shoulder visibly out of place

If you think you've dislocated your shoulder, the best thing you can do is try not to panic and call your doctor. Keep the arm close to your body and try not to move it. You can apply an ice pack or take anti-inflammatory medication for the pain on your way to the doctor or emergency room.

The doctor may perform a test or x-ray to confirm the shoulder is dislocated, and if muscle spams have started you may need muscle relaxers or sedation. When the muscles are relaxed the doctor can manipulate the bone back into place. You should feel the extreme pain subside almost immediately when the shoulder is back in its socket.

Rehabilitation

Once your shoulder is back in place, you still need to rehabilitate your injury. This typically includes wearing a sling for a period after the dislocation. While you heal your doctor may recommend using anti-inflammatory medications and icing the shoulder for any pain. You should do light exercises as you're healing to prevent the shoulder from getting tight. Once you have healed enough to be out of the sling, you'll begin a physical therapy regimen including specific exercises to stretch and strengthen muscles in the area to promote healing and prevent future dislocation.

When instability (dislocations or subluxations) becomes recurrent, surgical repair is often recommended to prevent further episodes and to restore normal function, including high-demand overhead sports activities.

Your shoulder specialist for a shoulder dislocation in Paramus, NJ, is Dr. Pollock. If you've dislocated your shoulder, contact us for an appointment at (201) 612-9774.

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